John’s story begins in 1952. Born into a charmed childhood in leafy North West London, he enjoyed a private education, a business degree from the University of Westminster and moved into banking. So far, so comfortable. But, thirty years ago, he was dealt a double blow when his wife Rosalie was diagnosed with cancer and a few months later, his family furniture business ran into financial difficulties.
His trademark self-deprecating sense of humour stems from this adversity and John is a passionate advocate for the healing power of writing in times of crisis.
“I spent many years in business before turning my hand to writing. If you don’t at least attempt a change of careers then you can go through life not knowing what you might be capable of. Previously, I had only been interested in comedy and finally started to write down the things I said or thought of. That led me to co-write and produce a play, In the Balance, and then W for Banker – which appeared at the New End Theatre, Hampstead. It was then I decided to quit the world of business in favour of writing full-time and move toward more serious subjects.
I find mornings the most conducive for writing. By 8 a.m., I can’t wait to get going on the next chapter. Some days the creative juices flow easier than others but the secret, I’ve learnt, is to get something down on paper, which often entails editing the previous day’s work just to get in the right frame of mind for writing.
I also forensically research my novels, using local guides and virtual tours to ensure my representation of places are accurate. My latest novel is Three Days in Vienna, the launch of which was hosted by Circle Sq. in November. A sequel to Blue Skies Over Berlin, it follows the protagonist Elizabeth as she discovers new revelations about her mysterious mother’s Jewish roots in wartime Vienna. From Kindertransport to embezzlement – all roads lead to Vienna! Three Days in Vienna is available in paperback (£11.99) and Kindle format (£4.49).
Visit https://steinbergstories.com for more on John’s work.
Here’s his quick fire Q&A:
- What 3 words best describe you? Justifiably self-critical.
- If you could offer your younger self one piece of advice, what would that be?
Talking to yourself guarantees a good audience and you’re never likely to run out of conversation.
- What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Being too stubborn to give up.
- Which person (dead or alive) would you most like to invite to dinner? Norman, my alter ego.
- How has age strengthened your advantage? Learning to accept my limitations.
- What inspired you to join Circle Sq.? A similar age profile of its members and an opportunity to provide a platform for my writing.